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Heather Mattingsly lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  In July 2010, she found out she was pregnant.  Like so many modern women, she wasn't sure she wanted to just go to a cold, sterile hospital environment to give birth.  She found the meetings with her obstetrician to be rushed, impersonal, and uninformative, not very reassuring when you're about to do the equivalent of pushing a pot roast through a Cheerio.  She looked into midwives for the birth, and found out that midwives can only be hired through one of nine birthing agencies and the waiting lists are sometimes longer than the pregnancy -- only 1 in 5 women actually get a midwife.

This wasn't good enough for Mattingsly, but she didn't know what to do.  Then, in her sixth month, she learned of a sort of underground network of independent midwives.  For $2K, they handle the delivery and post-natal stuff.  Mattingsly said, "Deal," the arrangements were made, and in March 2011, Sunshine Rose Mattingsly was born.

That, however, was just the calm before the storm.

The parents contacted the Directeur de l’état civil to register Sunshine Rose and get her birth certificate, social insurance number and health-care card.  The law requires newborns to be registered within 30 days after the birth.  They sent in ultrasound reports, a doctor’s letter confirming he saw Mattingsly with a newborn baby.  The father, Steve Barry, and a witness both signed the attestation of birth. The midwife couldn’t sign the document because she was unregistered.

A week later, the agency said they couldn't register her and provide the documents until Mattingsly proved the child was hers.

Wait, what?

The government used to allow  a doctor, midwife or anyone else present at the birth, such as the father or grandmother, to vouch for it.  But then the policy was changed, suddenly and without explanation.  Now, only the siggies of a doctor or a midwife will do.  Notice this means that only someone licensed by the government can attest to a birth, private citizens have no standing, such as parents, friends, or someone from an underground network of independent midwives.  If a goverment flunkie isn't present, the mother needs to provide a medical exam to prove that she actually gave birth.  Marie Godbout is a spokesperson for the agency, and she said it's to prove the biological link between mother and child.  "It’s done in the public interest and to protect the child.  And it’s to prevent things like trafficking in children.”

And so began a beauracratic nightmare.  Even though the parents had sent a letter from a doctor saying Mattingsly gave birth to Sunshine Rose, the government said it wasn't good enough and she had to submit to a medical exam because she didn't have a doctor or midwife to witness it.  "But what if you give birth in a taxi?” Mattingsly asked the agency. “It’s totally crazy and I’ve been going through this for five months asking them what if this? What if that?  I understand that they must be cautious and make sure that I did indeed deliver a live baby, but things have gone overboard.”

(P.S.  There is some question about whether or not this whole thing violates the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  It states everyone has the right to refuse medical care or examination, so Mattingsly was being put through the wringer for something she had every right to do.)

Okay, medical examination.  What does that entail?  Well, according to the agency, they wanted Mattingsly to get a vaginal examination.

If you're wondering what exactly that will prove, congratulations, that's exactly what Mattingsly and HER DOCTOR thought.

Mattingsly did the only thing she could think to do -- she went to the press.  Turns out the Canadian press corps can be just as effective against beaurucrats as the American version.  After being flooded with WTF calls, the director called up Mattingsly personally and said he was approving everything, she didn't have to show her vagina to anyone.

Nice.  Government red tape.  Anyone who said America isn't exporting anything anymore doesn't know where to look.

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